Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MS Leg Pain

Over the last week my wife has had leg pain off and on. The pain is specifically in her quadriceps, the muscle running along the top and side of her thigh. She describes the pain as a cramp that lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. She also says it can be dull pain to sharp pain between these cramps. She will use pressure to help with the pain and will often use heat to release the pain. I can massage her leg and that seems to help, but rest seems to be the only thing that will completely stop the pain. The pain only happens periodically, but when it does, it can be pretty intense.

I am very curious to why the muscles along the top of her leg are the only ones really affected. She has had cramps and pain in other areas, but it doesn't seem to be MS related. Most of the time the pain only comes after a long time of standing or walking, and it usually starts with her leg(s) feeling heavy and tired. The left side of her body seems to be affected more than her right but it can affect both sides at once. This past week both of her legs were cramping and in pain. Even last night she was having some heaviness and dull pain, then came the spasms. Her muscles will spasm for a few seconds and cause her leg to jerk and kick. I can squeeze the top of her thigh and it seems to help, and it is crazy how the muscle feels as it spasms.

With my wife, it seems like her legs have issues before anything else does. If she is rested she may go weeks or months without many problems, but when she gets tired her legs are usually the first thing to start hurting or having issues. A few things we have used to help with these issues are chiropractic, massage, Stress Aid (a natural vitamin), heat and ice, Aleve or Ibuprofen and mainly rest. For my wife this issue has not become an everyday problem but more of a nuisance every once in a while. I would be curious to know if others experience the same pain in the same way or if there are other similarities.

19 comments:

Webster said...

Oh, I have that all the time. I take baclofen, but I know that's not your treatment of choice. All I can add is this: don't forget to stretch. Quads are tough - but lying on your stomach and bending your knees is a good way. If standing is not a problem, the classic "runner's stretch" works, too.

Cory said...

Webster, thanks for the comment! Do you know what baclofen does exactly? I would be curious to know what it is affecting to know what they think is causing the problem. Is it specifically in your quads also?

Webster said...

Cory, The short answer is this:
Answers.com
Baclofen

baclofen
from Answers.com...

trade name: Lioresal; drug class: central-acting skeletal muscle relaxant; action: inhibits both monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes in the spinal cord; uses: treatment for skeletal muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

If you google baclofen, or how does baclofen work you will find lots of information - including all the side effects ever experienced by anyone who has taken it. I take it "as needed" up to 120mg. A couple of times I have taken more (just before bed, and woke up feeling a little thick-headed. I don't drink much, or often, but when I have I have not had any interaction. It is a very commonly prescribed drug for MS spasticity.

Cory said...

Webster, thanks for the info. I do have another question. Is there a specific place that your legs hurt? Quads? Hams? Calves?

Webster said...

Oh, I get spasms is my quads mostly, but rarely I've had them in the front of my lower legs. Those hurt like an SOB, and tend to involve my feet! Thank God it doesn't happen but rarely.

Pamela said...

I seem to agree with all comments posted about MS Leg Pain. I've unfortunately experienced all of these pains at various times. Today
I am unable to lie on my stomach to relieve the quad pain and I am also having spasms from my ankle to my
waist on the outside and the direct
center of the back of my right leg.
I am currently taking Rebif and muscle spasm meds along with Naproxen. Nothing seems to help right now. At first they were helpful. The doctor eventually
administered steroids intravenously and that helped me to walk again after day one, but I felt like a hot air balloon after that and still had 5 days to continue the fluids/steroids. I gained 45lbs in
one week barely eating because I was on the treatment. Now that
much heavier I AM SUPPOSE TO BE ABLE TO WALK BETTER. It all sounds strange to me. Well I know I will keep on praying this pain away and hope this exacerbation will subside soon. Since my diagnosis in 1994 I know that it can be less painful periods in this disease. I think I'm going to embark on a massage therapist to ease the muscle pain.
God Be w/You.
Sincerely,
Pamela

Cory said...

Hi Pamela, thanks for the comment. You stated that you were going to look for a massage therapist to help with the pain so I thought it might be helpful to share our experience with therapists. My wife has been to many massage therapists and we have learned quickly that not all therapies are the same even if they are called the same thing. My wife did have a massage therapist that she loved that did neuromuscular work on her back. It seemed to really help with her whole body and seemed to keep her from having MS problems in her legs etc. We have tried other forms of massage but have not had the same success, and have even went to other neuromuscular therapists that didn't really help. We are going to start our hunt again when we move to find the right person that will truly help with my wife's issues. Good luck on your hunt and thanks for reading our blog!

Megan said...

Yesterday was the first day that I have experienced these leg pains from hell! Does this have to do with lesions in the spine? Or does this just come with the territory? Also, does this have anything to do with having a relapse. I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago so I'm still kind of new to everything. Any info or advice would be great =)

Cory said...

Megan, thanks for the comment. I hate to hear that you are having leg pain. I know that the pain can become pretty severe for my wife, but it is random and rare for her. About the lesions, I don't know. I know that my wife was diagnosed without lesions showing in her MRI. They ran all the tests and no lesions for her, even when she was having blindness and other issues. We have chosen not to focus on the lesions since we don't feel we have any control over them and so far, I have never had a doctor tell me how to repair them with proof that it works. As far as the leg pain goes, you can scan my blog for other times I have written about it. It comes and goes for my wife, and it usually is brought on by stress, being on her legs too much or being just plain tired. We don't really view it as relapses anymore since the symptoms come and go on almost a daily basis. We control what we can like diet, rest, stress etc., and have began to realize through the years that we really do have more control than we originally thought. I don't know if this answered all of your questions, but please feel free to write me at mywifehasms@gmail.com anytime you want to ask anything. For now I would really listen to your body and rest, follow a MS specific diet and control the stress in your life. I know it is not easy, but those things have really helped make life more livable.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your wifes and everyone elses here. I am sufferring with leg, knee & foot pain I know it is MS related. I take Avonex weekly and my pain is always worse on the day I take it and the day after. I think this is becasue it makes me so tired. then i dont sleep..........I am sooooo tired right now. All day my foot has been hurting as if I have a drawing pin stuck in it. my knee is a contiuous throb and my calf and shin ache beyond belief. On top of that it has been a year since I was diagnosed with MS after a bout of optic neuritis. I still cant see properly and that gets me down as I have given up driving abd going out on my own. Ruby

Cory said...

Ruby, thanks for the comment. I am so sorry to hear that you are having so many issues. The pain that can come from MS can wreak havoc on daily living. My wife doesn't take any prescription meds so I can't speak personally about the meds you are taking. We have been able to help with my wife's pain using massage, Bowen therapy and other natural therapies. You stated that you are still having sight issues. Did you use steroids to help regain your eyesight? My wife has had to use solumedrol a few times to help with that issue, and we have been fortunate that her eyesight has come almost completely back in one eye and the other is just dim. It doesn't really affect her until it is dark. I know that we can trace my wife's attacks back to specific circumstances and situations, and that has really helped us figure out how to help her. We will be in prayer for you as you work through these issues and please let me know if you have any other questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cory, I didnt have steroids becasue I am diabetic and steroids would have affected my blood glucose levels adversely so they wont give me them. I would have to spend a week being hospitalized so that they could give me insulin intraveniuosly. The combination of MS and Diabetes messes each of them up although both sets of consultants dont ackowledge that one affects the other. I know it does, if my blood sugar is high my swallowing reflex gets worse? Never mind I'll get over it and carry on regardless. What is Bowen therapy? ive never heard of that. many thanks for your kind comments Ruby.

Cory said...

Ruby, I know that blood sugar affects my wife's MS. We were just discussing this yesterday after she had issues when she chose poor food choices or didn't eat at all. This is something we have been paying more attention to lately, and I think it is another piece of the puzzle for better health. Diabetes throws a whole different problem into the mix, but I agree with you that it plays a role in your MS. About your question, Bowen Therapy is a technique we came across when my wife had a headache she could not get rid of. She had a migraine for weeks and we tried everything and couldn't find an answer. I took her to a Bowen expert and within 15 minutes the headache was gone. I even went and took the first class to be able to perform the technique on her, and it has paid off. You can google Bowen Therapy and learn some, but you really have to experience it to understand it. The technique uses muscle "strumming" to realign your body, and it doesn't hurt and seems almost like nothing is happening. We have used it to treat many different symptoms and I would highly recommend it. If you have any other questions please let me know.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend has MS. We are still gettin used to it as she was diagnosed in the last 12 months.

Her normal symptoms are fatigue and Pins & Needles type feeling in the right side of her face, right arm and right leg.

This week though she has came down with terrible pain in both her legs, she describes it as shooting pains from her heels up to her knees when walking, but even sitting still and lying in bed it can be very painful. As most symptoms she has experienced to far, it seems to come in waves. One minute very bad, then a minute later, its alot better (but still painful).

She also says her legs feels very heavy, her Calfs are sore and feel "Like Rocks". Even laying on the bed she says her legs feel heavy as if they are weighing down heavily onto the mattress.

Has anyone else experienced similar?

Im really happy i have found this blog as we are a young couple, and reading what a spouse goes through will help me alot to be prepared.

My girlfriend has had 3 relapses in total, this is only the 2nd one since ebing fully diagnosed. (if this is, infact, a relapse... were also new to this!)

Anonymous said...

i have had ms since 1969, right after i started high school. usually i have had attacks that went away but about 10 years ago my periferal(?) vision became double and that has never gone away. i also have numbness in hands and feet all the time and it will spread if i am tired or stressed. my bladder is very leaky so i am very grateful for peepads! i have L'Metes' symptom about all the time now and my legs at night will feel like the muscle is stretching and then lets go like a rubberband! that has been going on for over 30 years so i take klonopin before bed and it works great. the worst symptom i get by far is the Trigeminal Neuralgia, the pain from that feels like i have an ax embedded in my skull. i take neurontin for that, my ins. won't pay for lyrica but the other older drug has worked so far and i don't have any nasty side effects. after over 40 years of ms i can say that the best things to do are to keep a great sense of humor, get exercise and pace yourself. don't worry about other peoples pace, use what your body tells you!

Anna B said...

Reading all of this is very soothing to me..I was diagnosed 10 years ago and have been on Avonex all of these years..just lately my legs have become more bothersome..especially at night while lying in bed..The cramping wakes me during the night and the heavy feeling i can only descibe as, my legs feel like 2 tree trunks even while lying down..I take Valium when necessary and just ry to tough it out..I work full time and try to get in a couple of days of excercise when I'm up to it..hate this damn illness

Frances said...

I have the same sort of problems, mostly up the front of my thighs. It usually occurs at night and leaves me feeling really drained in the morning. I sometimes take Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, but have to be careful as it also relaxes the bladder! I have experimented and find that just 1/4 of a tablet (2.5mg) is enough to stop the spasms but doesn't let me wet myself (sorry for being so blunt). I am a 51 year old women who was diagnosed about 17 years ago and up until last christmas had only had 2 'attacks' Last christmas's problems haven't gone and have left me staggery (like a drunk) and feeling very, very sorry for myself. Not what you want to hear but it is reassuring to know there are others who know what you're feeling. My husband tries to understand but sometimes I get the feeling he thinks I am putting it on. I blog too and try to put things down there if I can but try to keep it fairly light hearted.

Kim said...

I have MS and have had leg pain when standing or walking for 2 years now. I am on high doses of gabapentin but it does nothing. I have also been put on other drugs but nothing so far. The pain is unbearable at times, has certainly lowered my quality of life. I am going to the MS clinic today, I will see what they have to say.

Cory said...

Hi Kim, thanks for the comment. Sorry to hear about your leg pain, but I was curious to know what you found out. If you want to post it here, that would be great, or you can shoot me an email at mywifehasms@gmail.com.